Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Good Mother

I am trying not to feel stressed. Or more accurately, I’m trying hard not to feel stress with Meghan here, but I realize it’s almost impossible. You can call it post-traumatic stress disorder, I don’t know for sure, but a good therapist would say so. It’s just that I had to live an entire year with Meghan prone to outbursts and coming after me to hurt me. I was abused and had to "take it" for the love of my daughter.

We have her for an entire week and she still thinks that she can do whatever she wants regardless of what I say. I get to sit here and guard the kitchen from keeping her from overeating. I get to sit here and guard the kitchen and bathrooms from keeping her from using too much hand soap and flooding the sinks. I get to sit here and listen to her enjoying some TV time and wonder if the excitable sounds are really sounds of frustration and that she is just seconds away from tearing apart a room or, worse, come storming down the hall to find and attack me. I get to sit here and remind myself to say to her "Use good hands" (code word) to calm her when she does have a behavioral episode, because, inevitably, she will.

I am trying hard not to feel that all too familiar stress, but I can’t help it, no matter what I say to myself or try to think. It starts from my shoulders and then to my neck and now I’m a tight ball of tension, tension that is obviously named Meghan.

I feel bad that this is how I feel and that we don’t have a "normal” life and household when she’s around. I feel even worse admitting this to myself and everyone else for that matter. Admitting that the best thing that I’ve ever done, next to trying my best to be a good mother, was sending Meghan to a residential school.

But I can write about it in this blog and release it to the general public for you to read so that I am not too harshly judged for having to send my 13 year-old daughter to a residential school for the severely autistic. Sometimes I really feel that I have to defend myself for not being strong enough to handle things on my own. For having the courage to send her off to a residential school, but not having the courage to have her home-schooled and hire a “guard” to stand by to help me fend her off when she becomes behavioral two times a day. For feeling judged for being selfish for not loving her enough to give up my life and live solely for her, even though it is best for her future and for the future of my other child.

It’s interesting how I need to write this to validate my decision and my parenting, isn’t it?

I was telling a friend on another blog that a good therapist once said to my sister (my sister has severe OCD and anxiety) that there really isn’t a fancy definition for being a good mother: just one who tries no matter how she feels about herself or what she thinks.


Susan Senator said...

Holly, it is the hardest thing to do, even with all the storm going on in your home. You love Meghan, that is clear. We can't always parent the children we are given, that's all there is to it. Simple and yet so so so so hard. It is also a struggle not to feel even MORE than stress -- just know that you do have a friend out here in cyberspace, giving you a hug.

Christina Shaver said...

Even though are kids are nearly a decade apart, I know EXACTLY how you feel. Every inch of how you feel. I wish there were something I could do for you. You'll be in my thoughts during the week.

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Thank you both, you are good supportive friends--that is help enough!

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Holly, my heart goes out to you. All you can do is the best you can do. You have every reason to feel the way you do, and I don't think anyone who hasn't walked a block in your shoes would have the nerve to tell you different. I'm sending positive thoughts your way. Take care.